It's essential that your NCT certificate is valid for taking your car abroad. Furthermore, for your own peace of mind (as well as for breakdown insurance purposes) it's recommended you have your vehicle properly serviced and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications. If any parts are reaching the end of its normal life it's worth having them replaced.
If you've never driven abroad before, you'll probably find that it's a lot less daunting than you think! As long as you take note of a few dos and don'ts, a driving trip to the South of France or even beyond is within easy reach!
Take a look at our guide, giving useful tips on preparing your car for the road ahead as well as ways to help make your journey run as smoothly as possible.
You'll find within our guide, it's essential to take rest stops if you're driving for a few hours at a time. Depending on where you're going, you may wish to consider stopping overnight at one of our parcs. Give our travel advisors a call on (021) 425 2300 and they will be delighted to advise you of the best possible options of campsite stop-overs or hotel stop-overs.
You must have IRL sticker which is clearly visible to other drivers, or Euro plates with a circle of 12 stars on a blue background.
Use headlight converters to prevent from dazzling other drivers coming in the opposite direction - remember you're driving on the other side of the road!
Keep a kit in your car:
- Flourescent vest
- 2 x Single use Breathalyser Kit
- Warning triangle
- Can of oil and bottle of water
- Spare bulbs for all external lights. Make sure you know how to fit them
- First aid kit
- In-car phone charger or spare charged phone battery
- Fire extinguisher (advisory only)
Take both with you...and remember your charger! Also:
- Have your planned route written down in case you lose signal or your GPS system breaks
- If you can, try to pre-plan where you'll stop off for a rest/refreshments/sightseeing. This can help cut down on spending money at expensive service stations as well as breaking up your journey
- When you do stop, make sure all valuables are safely hidden from prying eyes
- If you use a GPS app on your smart phone, remember this is reliant on an internet connection and that the battery will drain very quickly
- Make sure the most up-to-date maps are programmed in to your satnav
Make sure your tyres (including your spare) are in decent shape for your journey. Check them for general wear and tear - any splits, nail damage, scuffs or bulges, and while they're still cold, check the pressure. When you drive the tyre will heat up, increasing the pressure. They must be the correct pressure to get the best handling on roads you're not familar with.
Check which type of tyres you need - will the weather have an effect? Note that some countries have a minimum tyre type at certain times of the year.
And will you need snow chains? In the winter they're compulsory in France.
Check with your provider that your insurance extends to the continent, you may need to get some extra cover for the holiday. Third party insurance is compulsory.
It is a condition of booking to have personal insurance cover for everyone in your party for your Eurocamp holiday. If you think you have cover already, check that everyone in your party is on the policy.
Many customers extend their cover with the AA/RAC/Green Flag to allow them to take their car abroad. In the event of a breakdown, replacement car parts can be expensive - especially after adding on postage or if the parts need to be imported. If you have breakdown cover, it must be valid from the moment you leave home to when you return.
If you're currently shopping around for insurance for your forthcoming Eurocamp holiday, we offer both personal cover and breakdown cover.
Check that the levels of your water, oil and windscreen wash are all correct. Keep a spare bottle of water and oil in the boot just in case.
An excellent way to gain more space in the boot. However, you must ensure when packing that the top box isn't carrying heavy items as you don't want to unbalance the car. Put the heavier luggage in the boot.
It's vital to stop for a rest when you're travelling for such a long time - especially if there's only one driver in your party. It takes a lot of concentration to drive abroad where you're unfamiliar with the roads and signs, and you risk the lives of yourself, your passengers and other road users if you're driving tired.
If your journey time is going to take you 8 hours or more, we strongly recommend you book an overnight stop for some proper rest. We can offer a choice of hotels or campsite stop-overs. Why not give one of our advisors a call on (021) 425 2300 who will be happy to advise you on the best possible options?
Don't let the thought of kids' boredom put you off! With so much available nowadays to keep them entertained there's no reason for complaints!
There's DVDs on your portable DVD player, hand-held games consoles, MP3 players, iPads and tablets, plus of course books, comics, magazines and travel games (like everyone's favourite - I-Spy)!
Remember that when driving abroad you'll encounter your fair share of road tolls. Make sure you've got plenty of change handy to prevent having to root around in a panic once you're at the barrier!
Remember also that different countries will have different rules and signs that won't be familiar to you, so learning them before you set off will make it easier.
Whether you've got cash, credit cards, debit cards or pre-paid cards - or all of the above - do not keep them all together. Check any credit or debit cards you take will be accepted where you're going and remember that each time you draw out cash there will be a charge. Let your bank know which cards you're taking overseas so that they don't suspect it's been cloned and stop it.
Petrol (unleaded only) and diesel are commonly sold on the continent, and LPG can be found at some larger stations.
We recommend you take a petrol can so you're not caught short - make sure the lid is on tight though. This is also useful because some rural petrol stations are not manned outside of normal working hours, and some automated pumps may not accept credit or debit cards.
Finally, make sure you know the correct name of the fuel you need!
Gazole / Diesel
Gasolina Sin Plomo
Benzina Senza Piombo
Umre / Diesel
Combustível Sem Chumbo
Make sure you take any paperwork that you may need to use during your holiday - and remember all of the following for all party members where applicable:
- Your valid driving licence, both photocard and paper types
- Your valid passport with the correct person entered into the emergency contact section. Also some countries require your passport to be in date for up to 6 months after you've travelled. Check this before you go!
- Keep a photocopy of your passports, as well as copies of other important documents, separate from the originals
- Your visa (for visiting non-EU countries)
- Your insurance certificate(s)
- Your log book (V5) to provide proof of ownership. You could be fined in some countries for not providing this
- Get a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for each person for free or reduced-cost health care in the EU
- Make sure your friends or family know where you're going and that they have a contact number for your destination(s) in case of an emergency (and in case your phone loses signal)
If you book a hire car for your Eurocamp holiday, bear in mind these useful tips:
- If you want to fly into one airport and home from another, consider and research your locations. For example, flying into France and driving into Switzerland may work out cheaper than flying into Switzerland itself - fuel included
- Most car hire companies, including Europcar, offer sat nav hire at many of their collection desks. This can be invaluable if you're doing a lot of driving. Or to keep costs down, take your own with you! All Eurocamp parcs are listed on Tom Tom European maps meaning you can find your way with ease
- If you can locate a supermarket with a petrol station, fill up here rather than on the motorway as it generally works out cheaper. Unless you see a sign telling you otherwise, always fill your tank then pay. Most petrol stations close at night, so if you come across one with a 'pay at pump' facility, make sure your card is accepted before you pick up the pump